Recap: Under Fire



“Under Fire” — Castle and Beckett discover that the victim of a building fire was actually shot to death, they get on the trail of a serial arsonist turned murderer. Meanwhile, Ryan’s wife, Jenny, goes into labor, but disaster threatens to ruin the joyous moment.

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What we liked about this episode | Castle returns with a hot new episode with “Under Fire.” There was little to not like about this episode. Was it the best? We can’t call something the best when there’s still at least 11 episodes to air. But we can say it’s definitely one of the better episodes of the season. There was a lot of drama in this episode—a lot of it. And most of it centered on Ryan and his wife, Jenny who’s about to go into labor. When the show puts the Castle and Beckett relationship in the backstreet, it allows for nice moments between the secondary characters. And this is important to a show such as Castle which has rich secondary main characters, and “Under Fire” delivers on that in full force. This was truly an Esposito, Lanie, Ryan and Jenny episode. But these episodes often get a bad from a section of the possessive fan base that only wants the show to focus on Castle and Beckett and not anyone else. And that is just sad. Castle’s secondary main characters deserve their moment to shine.

6x11The case of the week | Ryan, Castle and Beckett arrive at a warehouse that’s recently been torched. They are there because the victim inside the building was shot and killed prior to being roasted. They meet Delia, an FDNY arson investigator played by Wendy Davis. Later on, we learn that the victim was her partner who was investigating a serial arsonist. Beckett has the boys track down the victim’s car to another nearby warehouse. She tells them to check it out and that’s when the boys find the arsonist’s lair. It’s been rigged to explode and it traps Ryan and Esposito in the subbasement which is conveniently not on the building’s plans. Castle, Beckett and Delia figure out that the person who’s setting these fires has to have intimate knowledge of the buildings. They figure it out and it leads them to a city building inspector. Beckett and Delia corner the guy and Beckett pretty much tells him if her guys die, he dies. Ryan and Esposito are found and everyone will live happily yet a bit smokier smelling ever after.

Haven’t I seen this before? | Yes in a way you probably have. “Under Fire” probably drew its inspiration in part from the 1991 film Backdraft. In that movie, a series of fires catches the attention of a Chicago fire investigator played by Robert De Niro. And after an academy mate is seriously injured in one of the arsonist’s fires, a rookie fireman helps out. Long story short, the fires were set by a fellow fireman because of the city’s budget cuts were going to cost lives and jobs. “Under Fire” didn’t follow that route but did at least make a viable reason for the arsonist. Old buildings are death traps to firemen. That’s why in some cases contractors will burn buildings to allow firefighters to get real world training in a safe environment.

[pull_quote_right]“I am marrying him,” — Beckett. [/pull_quote_right] Arsonists are more creepy & believable than 3XK | Anyone who reads these recaps know we aren’t fans of the most 3XK episode. In fact, we pretty much hated its silliness. That said, Andrew Marlowe and David Amann did a stellar job of diving headfirst into what makes an arsonists tick. It’s no wonder why people started thinking 3XK with this because of the similarities in the villain of the week. The interrogation between Beckett and Ferguson in the box at the 12th mimics the conversation between Brian and Bartel in Backdraft.

Ryan’s about to become a daddy | Some of us here at Castle Chronicles can testify to the anxiety of the firstborn. It’s nice that the show took us in that direction. This also sets up Ryan’s storyline for the rest of the season that will place him at a crossroads with his career as a NYPD detective. He’s going to start questioning being on the front lines. And it’s the realistic aspect that all parents face when they have careers that put their lives in jeopardy on a daily basis. For what it’s worth, Jenny’s arrival at the fire scene and wanting to be there while her husband is trapped and she’s about to give birth. It’s a girl—Sarah Grace, named after her grandmother.

A lil’ bit of bromance on the side | This is the second time Ryan and Esposito have been in a life-and-death situation this season and at least the third time over the course of the series (“Knockdown” being the first). Much like how the same situations drew Castle and Beckett closer, these little moments serve the same purpose. They are partners until the wheel’s come off.

Helplessly on the sidelines but not | Castle and Beckett always get through the case and for two people who could probably prove without a doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of President Kennedy, these two could only be on the sidelines as the wonder about the fate of Ryan and Esposito. And as Castle reminded Beckett, they are helping by being there at the fire.

Gates rallies the troops | Gates has proven without a doubt she has her people’s backs. When the entire12th watches and worries about the fate of their coworkers, Gates keeps their eye on the ball and puts everyone on the case. Penny Johnson Gerald knocked it out of the park in this episode, especially when sure pressures the website guy. She had him sweating and crying. She puts a whole new spin on the whole no one messes with momma bear’s cubs. (For what it’s worth, we can totally see her putting Senator Bracken in his place in more ways than one.)

Is Esplanie back together | We’re gonna go out on a limb and say yes, they are. Just like the hanging over the side of the building brought Beckett’s feelings for Castle to the front, we suspect that the same will happen for Esplanie. Lanie did show up at the fire and that accounts for something in our book.

Favorite quote | There were lots of a great lines but we liked this one the best. “I am marrying him,” — Beckett.

Favorite scene | Ryan and Jenny’s talk—just as we know no main character is going to “buy the farm” during a non-sweeps month (rant: Can we please stop with the silly teases? Castle fans are not idiots, Castle people. And some of us are really super annoyed with all the unimaginative teases this season and this includes all the supposed news websites out there.)—this scene serves a reminder to the dangers our first responders face on a daily basis. We owe them a debt of gratitude because when we are rushing out, they’re rushing in for total strangers.

Going forward | Not much is known at this point about the direction the show’s writers plan to take Ryan being a dad and how that will affect him being a cop. We’re not going to speculate based on speculative rumors because that’s just silly and rather pointless. All we know that this makes Ryan question his being a cop. And for right now, that’s good enough for us.



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A happy-go-lucky Castle fan who has 20 years of web management and 16 years of web publishing experience. In a past fandom, the EIC managed a fan website for a popular show and message board. The EIC is an academic with specialization in media and society and modern history and is a media professional.


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